While bonuses are always a big factor when choosing a new credit card, you should also think about the long-term ability of the card to earn and redeem points. There are many things you should consider when determining the value of a card. Credit card promotions and rewards are always changing too, so stay in the know by being up to date on the best credit cards for points that 2018 has to offer.
Best Credit Cards for Travel Points
The Platinum Card from American Express is a top pick among avid travelers looking for the best credit cards for travel points. This card has a 60,000-point sign-up bonus and so many perks and benefits it is a must-have if you travel a lot. Don’t let the $550 annual fee dissuade you, either. That money is easily recouped through all the perks this card offers.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
- 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- + Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world
- + Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More
- 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline
- Terms Apply
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
- + Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required
To start with, this card comes with a $200 airline credit to cover incidentals, such as in-flight purchases, change fees and the ever-important bag fees. It also has a $200 annual Uber credit to help you get home from the airport.
Perhaps best of all, it comes with free airport lounge access. But that’s not just any lounge. You’ll be able to get into American Express’s super-swanky Centurion Lounges, plus Delta lounges if you’re flying on Delta. And if those aren’t available, you can always rely on the handy Priority Pass Select membership that comes with the card. It gives you access to over 1,000 lounges around the world.
The Platinum card also includes a rebate for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and gives you complimentary Hilton Honors and SPG Gold status. You’re sure to be traveling in luxury with this card.
The Amex Platinum card earns 5x points on eligible airline and hotel purchases and one point per dollar for everything else. And those credit card reward points are flexible. The Membership Rewards program allows you to transfer points to 20 airlines and hotel partners, which can potentially further increase the value of those points.
A More Affordable Alternative
For a lot less money ($95 a year) you could also get the excellent Citi ThankYou Premier card. It comes with a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 points and provides versatility when it comes to redemptions, making it one of the best credit cards for points.
Citi Premier Card
- + Earn 3 points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
- + Earn 2 points on Dining Out & Entertainment
- + Earn 1 points on All Other Purchases
- Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- 60,000 Points are redeemable for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
- No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
- + Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs
Earning with this card is great for those on the move as you can get three points per dollar spent on travel. This includes things like airfare and hotels, but also ridesharing, public transportation, tolls and even gas. You’ll also get double points for dining out and entertainment.
You can use your points to book travel directly through Citi’s airline and hotel partners, or using the Citi travel portal.
Best Credit Cards for Airline Miles
The British Airways Visa Signature is one of my favorite airline cards for domestic air travel. Not only can you earn 100,000 Avios when you sign up, but it also has great redemption options, particularly for short-haul flights in the U.S. After spending $3,000 you will receive 50,000 Avios. You can earn an additional 25,000 Avios if you spend $10,000 and another 25,000 if you spend $20,000 in purchases the first year.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- + In addition to the bonus Avios, you will earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airway purchases after the first 12 months.
- + Chip Technology allows you to use your card for chip based purchases in Europe & beyond, while still giving you the ability to use your card as you do today at home.
- Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
- Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
Even if you don’t spend $20,000 on this card, the initial bonus of 50,000 Avios is enough to snag a domestic business class award ticket on American or even an off-peak Aer Lingus flight to Europe. Last year I booked a ticket to Ireland on Aer Lingus for just 20,000 Avios! Not to mention, if you were to spend $30,000 in a year you could also receive a travel together ticket for a companion.
Another Option for a Companion Pass
If British Airways isn’t your thing, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature is also a great choice for domestic travel. It offers 30,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000. That’s enough for a domestic roundtrip, including Alaska. You’ll also get a free checked bag for you and up to six companions on any Alaska or Virgin America flight.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
- + Special Introductory Offer: Buy 1 ticket, get 1 for just the taxes and fees with Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ Offer.
- + Earn 3 miles for every $1 spent directly on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- Get 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more within the first 90 days of your account opening.
- Get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ every year! Each Year on your account anniversary get a companion fare from $121 ($99 plus taxes and fees from $22). Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com.
- Save with a free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation.
- New - Get exclusive access to discounted redemption levels when you redeem miles for hotel stays at over 400,000 properties using Mileage Plan™ Hotels.
- Earn unlimited miles and travel with no blackout dates and no foreign transaction fees.
The best part of this card, though, is the companion pass. The first year you have the card, you’ll be able to take a companion with you on one round-trip flight for just the cost of taxes and fees. Every year after that, you can bring a friend or family member along with you for just $100 plus taxes and fees. That benefit alone could easily save you hundreds of dollars a year!
Best Business Credit Cards for Points
The Business Gold Card from American Express Open is among my top picks for the best business credit cards for points not only because of its bonus, which is 50,000 points, but also because of its great earning potential.
American Express Business Gold Card
- + Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month
- + 4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.
- Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.
- Exclusive Offers: Get up to 1 year free on subscriptions to both G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and ZipRecruiter Standard, a combined value up to $3,200.
- Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
- + Expense Management Tools: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManagerSM, receive a YearEnd Summary, and more.
This card allows members to earn 3x points on one of five categories of their choosing that includes airfare, advertising, gas, shipping or computer needs. If you max out the category to its $100,000 spending limit, you’ll end up with a phenomenal 300,000 points. The remaining four categories earn 2x points.
This card is also part of the Membership Rewards program, which has 20 airline and hotel partners. When redeeming for airfare through Amex Travel, you can increase the value of each point to 1.54 cents.
Get 2% Back on All Purchases
The Capital One Spark Business credit card is a good choice if you are interested in a more straightforward approach to earning and redeeming. These cards come in both miles-earning and a cashback versions. With either card, you can redeem the points you earn for statement credits.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
- Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
- Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
- Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
- Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
- Earn unlimited 2 miles per $1 on every purchase, everywhere
- Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles – equal to $500 in travel – once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Receive up to $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® application fee
- Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen
- Free employee cards which also earn unlimited 2x miles from their purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
READ MORE: The Best 2 Percent Cashback Credit Cards
This means that you’ll get the same 2 percent cash back or two miles per point no matter what you buy. In either case, you’ll essentially be getting two cents back for every dollar you spend.
Best Credit Card for Gas Points
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature card may be one you haven’t heard of before, but if you are serious about gas rewards, it is worth checking out. Its gas-earning potential alone makes it one of the best credit cards for points.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- 5x Points on Gas
- 3x Points on Groceries
- 1x Points on All Other Purchases
- $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
- EMV chip-enabled for added security
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
This card boasts 5X points on gas. It’s like saving 5 percent on all of your gas purchases. This card also earns triple points on groceries. If you spend $500 per month on gas and $1,000 per month on groceries, you would earn 5,500 points. That would be 66,000 points for the year on your gas and groceries alone. If you redeem for gift cards, that’s worth $660.
Best Credit Cards for Hotel Points
The Marriott Rewards Premier card is one of the best credit cards for points due to its huge sign-up bonus of 75,000 points and a free night annually at a category 1-5 property. You’ll also be able to raise your elite status to Silver within Marriott’s loyalty program.
Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Card
- 6x Points on Marriott® and SPG® Purchases
- 2x Points on Dining, Airfare and Car Rentals
- 2x Points on Gas
- 2x Points on All Other Purchases
- 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months
- 1 free night award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
Having Silver status will give you more perks and can make your earning easier and your points more valuable. Since the merger between Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest hotels, they are now the world’s largest lodging company and also boast the strongest loyalty program within the industry.
A New Card From Hilton
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is a new release this year and is rivaling the competition with its sign-up bonus of 100,000 points. This card also earns 14 points per dollar at Hilton hotels, as well as seven points per dollar on flights when you book directly through an airline or amextravel.com.
Hilton Honors Aspire Card
- 14x Points on Hilton Purchases
- 7x Points on Airfare, Car Rentals and Dining
- 3x Points on All Other Purchases
100,000 bonus points after you spend
$4,000in purchases within the first 3months
- One weekend night reward annually
- Get an additional night every year you spend at least $60,000
- Up to $250 in statement credits annually for purchases at Hilton Resorts
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
This is one of the best credit cards for points not only because of the big bonus and ability to earn rewards, but also because of the incentives it offers. That includes a $250 credit for eligible purchases made at Hilton properties and another $250 credit for incidental airline fees, such as baggage charges.
This card also boosts you to Diamond status within the Hilton loyalty program. And you can earn a free weekend night each year upon account renewal.
What Are You Waiting For?
Now that you’ve read the list and perused the best credit cards for points, it’s time to get in the game. Start applying so you can start earning. That’s why you’re here, right?
I didn’t choose the cards above just for their big sign-bonuses, though those are important. They were also chosen for their flexibility when it comes to redemption options as well as other benefits that add overall value to the cards (like lounge access and travel credits).
What’s most important, though, is how you will use your credit card. Whether you use different cards for different purchases or you like to concentrate your spending one on card, my final bit of advice is to avoid paying interest at all costs. Carrying a balance and paying interest will quickly negate any value you might get from your rewards.